Catastrophic failure of rod rigging is well documented. I know of at least three boats that have had it fail with no warning. Also, when you're out cruising, it is important to have rigging that is easy to repair, as in many areas, rod rigging and the tools needed to make it are not available. Rod rigging can also be damaged more easily, by impact to the rigging than wire rigging, which is more flexible.
The real weak point of rod rigging is the terminal ends... but that is also the case on wire rigging. Wire rigging rarely fails in the middle of a cable... it usually fails at a terminal fitting. However, wire rigging usually gives fairly clear warning prior to failing—meathooks, rusting, etc—rod rigging has no such warning signs.
Fiber rigging, like Spectra, Carbon Fiber and PBO is interesting, but not really ready for prime-time usage yet. It is very expensive and relatively short-lived and much more fragile in many ways. It is used on racing boats, but these are boats that are inspected very regularly and have budgeted a fair amount for replacing the standing rigging on a regular basis—which is generally not the case with a cruising boat.
Originally Posted by Pamlicotraveler
Does anyone know of an actual example of a catastrophic Rod Rigging failure? If there is it is probably the connectors because for rod rigging they used use ball fittings on the upper ends of the rods and I am sure those could fail.
I believe rod rigging to be better based on the fact that I am not aware of any failures. Since most boats have wire rigging a vote is likely to be biased towards wire rigging because we all tend to prefer what we have. I am not a metallurgist, although I do play one on the internet, but I would be interested in hearing from one.
The future might be in fiber rigging...and kevlar etc. and I am interested in learning more about that.
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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